A review of Aspen's latest comic!
Credits & Solicit Info:
In a United States reeling from the aftereffects of a biological weapon detonated over the Gulf of Mexico, Doctors Gabriella and Richard Adams are hired to develop a cure for the effects of the bomb. Unfortunately, as they seek to invent a cure, they create a horrible monster. Through a dual narrative — one following the pasts of Gabriella and Richard and one following the monster — "Broken Pieces" will slowly reveal the full story of what happened and why
The story of Frankenstein's monster is a warning to be heeded by any and all who would interfere with the laws of nature. Science's creations can – and often do – work against those without the ability to maintain control. Broken Pieces fits into that tried-and-true story to a T; yet it is never an overly negative expression of those clichés and stereotypes that go along with the genre.
The cover of the comic is truly ominous. It looks like a collection of different bodies infused with a face that appears eerily similar to Solomon Grundy. We see our creature stalking a defenseless female scientist, looming sinisterly. The only downside about this cover is that it is rather misleading. The character pictured here seems purely evil, as though he has already been betrayed by his creator and is now stalking the hapless villagers, preparing to exact his revenge. However, as we read on, we learn that is not the case.
Instead of an undead creature created in the name of science, or a weaponized super-human bent on mass destruction, our monster is merely a scientist who was working for the betterment of humanity. A team of scientists, with the aid of a government control group, is working to activate complete cellular regeneration of damaged tissue in a human being, effectively making it impossible for a human being to retain permanent damage. Unfortunately, things go awry, and one of the team is left for dead after an accident.
Although this comic never goes beyond the conventions set forth by similar predecessors, it doesn't tread on them, either. It truly embraces itself and becomes another story exemplifying that "the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions," similar to I Am Legend and Hollow Man before it. Unfortunately, the comic's story often feels constricted by its genre; the path to our monster's creation has been tread before. We see the couple making small talk over dinner about the man's irritation with his soon to be mother-in-law. We see the financial backer get overly involved in the development process, inevitably leading to the accident and damning the very team doing his research. We see the creature effortlessly dispatching nameless throngs of security guards meant to keep the evil corporation's newly acquired monster in check. Though the story is presented well enough to keep the reader engaged, it offers nothing fresh or novel.
This particular issue attempts a backstory that sets the creature up as a sympathetic character; however, he is not quite there yet. Unfortunately, there are also a few additional characters who- although we know they will be relevant as the story progresses- have yet to be given the attention that they deserve. We want to know more, and yet our thirst for knowledge is merely teased instead of being fully sated.
In conclusion, this particular installment of Broken Pieces would be necessary for anyone wanting to get into the series. However, it's arguable that no one would find this issue entertaining on its own. It is a good story, but it has been told before. The tale is well crafted; it features well-done, stimulating artwork with a good color scheme, it portrays an interesting setting, and it establishes a sympathetic creature surrounded by solid – albeit cliché – characters. Everything is in place, but in the end it falls a little flat.
Two stars out of four and anxiously awaiting its continuation- for it is in how these stories unravel and conclude that determines their true quality.
Review by: Dan Kester, Outhouse Contributor